The South African Football Association (SAFA) is deeply saddened by the never-ending stream of reports of heinous violence being committed against women and children on a daily basis.
We are informed by the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that 1 out of 3 women around the world have been subjected to gender-based violence at some point in their lives – a shocking statistic indeed!
“violence against women is understood as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women and shall mean all acts of gender-based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, etc.” —(CSW)
Football is a simple game that requires a skill that not many can perform in equal measure on the field of play. The discipline to run with the ball at your feet while dodging opponents who are constantly trying to take it away from you is a skill that takes many years to perfect. However, once learned and executed successfully, it builds confidence, strengthens self-esteem and respect for those who battle to take the ball away from you all the time.
Playing as part of a team also instils a sense of belonging and develops deep respect for those who try to take the ball away from you all the time. Discipline, respect, teamwork and emotional strength are therefore hallmarks of the game.
The Association is therefore saddened by attempts of elements in our society who deny women and children their dignity, who prey on the most vulnerable and who disrespect our core values of respect for one another at all times.
This Association views any other traits such as violence and disrespect and contempt for life as the most abhorrent forms of behaviour that does not belong in our sport.
SAFA calls on the millions of football players and supporters in our country to take a stand against violence against the most vulnerable members of our society, especially women and children. This is the time that we should not just pay lip service but stand up and take an active stand against gender violence and child abuse, support civil society and government efforts to rid our society of this scourge.
We kindly call on all our football clubs around the country to observe a moment of silence in upcoming matches in defiance of those who perpetrate these evils deeds and adopt a year-round programme of reminding our people that violence has no place in our society and that the football community will do everything to stop it. Please join our communities in the fight against violence!
Score a goal against gender violence and child abuse!